Gov. Pat McCrory will try to help boost Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s struggling campaign for Virginia governor Thursday. McCrory is scheduled to attend a get-out-the-vote rally at a campaign office in Roanoke. McCrory is returning the favor after Virginia’s Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell came to North Carolina to help McCrory’s 2012 campaign. But McCrory will find little in common with Cuccinelli. For one, Cuccinelli is down 17 percentage points in the latest polls against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. At this point a year ago, McCrory was leading by double digits in North Carolina. “We’ve come to expect Gov. McCrory to coddle the extremist elements of his party, but this shows he will say and do anything to pander to the political fringe,” said Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller in a statement.
It’s really hard to take Pat McCrory seriously. In his interview with the Heritage Foundation, he says he accomplished more in his first nine months than any governor in 20 years. He also claimed that the federal government might force North Carolina to expand Medicaid. Neither statement is true. The North Carolina legislature did more damage than any government in more than twenty years but Pat McCrory did very little except follow along like an annoying little brother. He got rolled, over and over, by Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. When he had opportunities to distinguish himself, he took a pass. This is the guy who campaigned on ending cronyism and implementing transparency. Instead, he’s expanded patronage, filled the Department of Health and Human Services with campaign cronies at inflated salaries and sticks by an incompetent cabinet secretary who says that transparency hurts government.
The Progressive Pulse: First it was cookies, now it’s turnip greens
In a rather amazing response to the bad P.R. they’ve been receiving for their toughest-in-the-nation policies toward the poor and unemployed over the last several months, Gov. McCrory and his budget director, chain store magnate Art Pope, issued a pair of press releases today in an attempt to show what caring souls they are. Unfortunately for both men, both statements come off as almost comically pathetic in their failure to appreciate the magnitude of the problem confronting people in need. The Governor’s statement was probably the funniest: he announced that: “approximately 6,700 pounds of fresh turnip greens harvested at the state prison farm at Caledonia Correctional Institution are being delivered to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.” Gee thanks, Guv! That ought to take care of that pesky hunger problem! Pope, meanwhile, announced that he would, in the proud tradition of the world’s first billionaire John D. Rockefeller and his legendary/infamous distribution of nickels and dimes to passers by on the street, dispense a whopping $185,000 from his family foundation (almost enough to hire a high-priced consultant at the Department of Health and Human Services for part of the year) to smattering of worthy causes.
MSNBC: Voter ID gov: I haven’t paid ‘a lot of attention’ to the issue
Over the summer, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed what is perhaps the country’s most restrictive voting law, as well as a strict anti-abortion law that could drastically reduce access for women in need. But McCrory says he hasn’t paid much attention to either issue. In an appearance on Monday at the conservative Heritage Foundation, the governor laid out the subjects he has prioritized since taking office in January: With my legislature, I focused on, primarily, three areas: the economy, education, and government efficiency. Frankly, everything outside that area, I didn’t put a lot of attention to. Now I had certain state reps and state senators who focused on other things, which they need to. But I wanted to focus, as the executive branch, on the economy, education, and government efficiency. McCrory’s admission is troubling to reproductive rights advocates, who fear that the stricter regulations on abortion clinics signed into law by McCrory in July could force every existing facility in the state to shut down. “While he was apparently ‘not paying attention,’ the governor broke a clear campaign promise by signing into law the most egregious attack on women’s reproductive rights and safety that we have seen in over 40 years,” said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, referring to a 2012 promise by McCrory not to sign further restrictions on abortion. The measure, quietly inserted into a motorcycle safety measure, was as far-reaching as the Texas law that prompted Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster in June. The admission also might not go over well with the more than 500,000 eligible voters in North Carolina believed to lack any of the narrow range of IDs approved for voting under the Republican-backed voting law, which also cuts back on early voting and scraps same-day registration, among other restrictions. The U.S. Justice Department is suing North Carolina over the law, arguing that it discriminates against minorities. Lately, McCrory has been mounting anaggressive public defense of the measure.
About 25 people rallied Wednesday afternoon to protest the role they feel U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows played in the federal government shutdown and urged others to hold him accountable. City Councilman Cecil Bothwell, who sought but did not get the Democratic nomination for the seat that Meadows now holds, was in attendance. “We got a Tea Party Republican in office here and he’s doing his best to damage Western North Carolina and the United States,” Bothwell said. “He’s putting ideology above the good of the people. He doesn’t care about people on food stamps, he doesn’t care about people on Medicare. He doesn’t care about people who work for the government. He doesn’t care about people who depend on the government for services. He’s trashing us and I think we gotta get rid of him next year.” Meadows, R-Glenville, gained notoriety as the “architect” of the shutdown after a CNN article was published earlier this month. Meadows’ district lost as much as $1 million a day, according to a Washington Post article last week.
The Washington Post: Cory Booker to be sworn in Oct. 31
Sen.-elect Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will be sworn in as a senator on Oct. 31, his campaign announced Wednesday. Vice President Biden will swear Booker in at noon that day. He will become the first African American to represent New Jersey in the Senate. A rising star in the Democratic Party, Booker defeated Republican Steve Lonegan by 11 points in an Oct. 16 special election to fill the seat once held by late-Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). A regular on national cable shows and Sunday news programs, Booker will instantly become one of the upper chamber’s highest-profile Democratic senators. Booker is in his second term as mayor of Newark.
North Carolina did a star turn on Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" Wednesday night in a piece looking at changes to state voting laws in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a key provision of the federal Voting Rights Act. North Carolina passed a new voting law this year that will require photo ID starting in 2016 and make many other changes starting in 2014. As part of "The Daily Show" piece, comedian Aasif Mandvi visited Asheville and conducted an interview with Don Yelton, a Republican activist from the area. In typical Daily Show style, Mandvi elicits some choice quotes from Yelton, the choicest of which might be, "The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt." Regarding the photo ID portion of the law, Yelton goes on to say, "If it hurts a bunch of college kids that’s too lazy to get up off their (rears) and get a photo ID, so be it." The piece also features an interview with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said the computer glitches keeping many Americans from signing up for the new healthcare offerings are “unacceptable,” as she gathered with a small group of business leaders at the Charlotte Chamber’s uptown office Wednesday morning. Hagan, a Democrat, was in town to announce a “Hire a Hero” bill, one that would make permanent a set of expiring tax incentives that encourage business owners to hire veterans. “I am frustrated on…behalf of the constituents in North Carolina,” Hagan said. “We’ve got to have these exchanges working. We’ve got to have the website open, so that individuals can read what’s out there for them, look at the cost, and sign up and get the care they so ably deserve.” She also assured that President Barack Obama and his staff were working hard to get the issues resolved.
The Democratic Party called attention to a quote in the Morganton News Herald that we missed the other day from Lt. Gov. Dan Forest: “I ask myself, ‘Where are the Ronald Reagans today? Will America see another Ronald Reagan?,’” said Forest. “But I see glimpses of Reagan in elected officials like Congressman Meadows. … Meadows is the smartest man in Washington today.” Given Meadows’ role as leader in the effort that led to the government shutdown, the quote aligns Forest with a select wing of the Republican Party. But it’s worth noting that Forest “agreed that defaulting on our debt as a nation would be catastrophic,” which puts him at odds with the tea partiers who support him.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear urges reason in the public reaction to the difficulties with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. He notes that in his state about 1,000 people a day are signing up for insurance, an indication that the ACA is not nearly as unpopular as Republicans want to think it is. Indeed, in California and several other states the process for signing up has worked well. What Kentucky and California have in common is that they opted to run their own health care exchanges. But in most states in the South (read that: where the most vitriolic opponents of President Obama are) Republican governors and legislatures surrendered control of the exchanges through which uninsured people must buy insurance. Not interested, they said, not even if state-run exchanges would be able to offer people more choices, would likely be more efficient and would be more nimble at handling questions and problems. Don’t care. Let the feds do it all. Now that’s nice public service for you. Doubtless these Republicans also rubbed their hands together and figured that if there were problems with the exchanges, people would turn against the health care program and against the president who instigated it. In other words, by shirking their duty, as the GOP leadership in North Carolina did, they can score some political points. What a dreadful line of reasoning. They’re prepared to let the people they’re supposed to represent experience more complicated steps in getting health care in the name of making the president look bad. For his part, the president rightly stepped up and expressed his own frustrations with the computer problems created by an overloadon federally run exchanges. He said some of the top “tech people” from around the country are tackling the problem. The president didn’t try to shift the blame. He acknowledged the problem and promised to see that it is fixed. And he defended the Affordable Care Act as more than a computer process, which it is. (Already, parents have been able to keep their children on their insurance until age 26, a help to young working people, and children with pre-existing conditions have been allowed to be covered by insurance they previously were denied. Those are developments that happened because of health care reform.) In addition, 20 million people have gone to the website and half a million have signed up for insurance.
News and Observer: A husband’s support for his teacher wife becomes a viral sensation
The day Haley Brown gave notice that she would quit the career she loved, her husband, Matt, handed her a letter. She opened it and cried. Brown, an elementary school teacher, had been in the classroom for seven years. She adored her students and fellow teachers. And she loved moments like this: “Seeing the light bulb go off. I think that’s why any teacher gets into teaching, because that’s the best feeling, seeing them so interested and engaged and finally getting it … and knowing that you made a difference.” Unfortunately, she said, there were fewer and fewer such experiences. It seemed as if testing had taken more of her energy and robbed the students of meaningful instructional time. The number of teacher assistants dwindled. The workload kept growing, but she had received only one automatic raise and a 1 percent cost of living increase in seven years’ time. The letter from Matt Brown said he understood why she was giving it up. And he was glad. That heartfelt note became a post on Brown’s blog. Soon, it had gained 1,200 “likes” on Facebook. It seemed to have meant something to people, so Brown said he figured he’d send it in to the editorial page at The News & Observer, which subsequently published it on Oct. 12.
Charlotte’s mayoral candidates sparred Wednesday over how much public money should be invested in projects such as the Carolina Panthers’ $87.5 million stadium improvements and the streetcar, and outlined their visions for growing the city’s economy. Republican Edwin Peacock III and Democrat Patrick Cannon tried to paint themselves as moderates, but differed sharply over the city’s $816 million capital improvement plan.
A new Fox News poll finds Democrats leading Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by eight points, 45% to 37%.
Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, the Democratic candidate for Senate, has hired several veterans of Sen. Jon Tester’s successful 2012 reelection campaign for his own team. This helps gives the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee confidence that the former leader of the Montana National Guard can keep the race for the seat being given up by retiring Sen. Max Baucus, also a Democrat, competitive. The Republican candidate, freshman Rep. Steve Daines, is expected to announce his candidacy next month, and DSCC executive director Guy Cecil argues in a two-page memo shared first with POLITICO that the shutdown has damaged the GOP brand broadly and Daines’s hopes specifically. “John Walsh is the right candidate, at the right time, with the right team in place to win in 2014,” said Cecil. Walsh has retained the same polling and media firm that helped Tester beat Rep. Denny Rehberg in a competitive 2012 campaign, even with President Barack Obama at the top of the ballot. Dan Kully and Brandon Hall, principals of the firm Kully Hall, will lead Walsh’s paid media campaign.
There’s a long list of Nevada politicians clogging the state’s pipeline to Congress, but any massive movement hinges largely on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s fate in 2016. Reid reigns as the undisputed power broker for state Democrats — and he’s also the Republicans’ top target in 2016. Otherwise, a relatively new congressional delegation means there probably won’t be much be much turnover in the Silver State’s House ranks any time soon. Only one of Nevada’s four House districts is competitive. So Democrats are focused on defeating GOP Rep. Joe Heck in the 3rd District. They’ve recruited Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray, whose father served Nevada in Congress.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has unexpectedly added three new House candidates to its Jumpstart Program — a designation used for top-tier recruits — amid fresh optimism about the party’s 2014 prospects following this month’s government shutdown. The designation offers the DCCC’s top recruits financial, communications, operational and strategic support from the committee to boost their prospects early on in the election cycle. Democratic campaign officials say they’ve seen an increase in interest among potential House recruits amid voter backlash sparked by Republicans’ handling of the shutdown. The new candidates added to the DCCC support list, according to a release shared first with The Hill, include:
Every now and then Gary and I venture out of our respective sanctuaries to journey out into the broader world and, just the other day, we meandered all the way across Raleigh to speak to a very nice group of folks about politics (from our different perspectives). And, sure enough, during the meeting a hand went up and someone asked: With all these polls showing the Republican Party at its lowest popularity ever – how many Republican candidates could lose next election? Gary, gentleman that he is, felt it was only fair I answer the question. Now there’s no doubt a fair amount of people are unhappy with Republican politicians. They’re not in love with Democrats either. But the polls do show they’re more unhappy with Republicans. I said, Imagine, off the shores of Africa a hurricane’s forming. Then imagine you could put all the Republican candidates on the tip of the beach in Wilmington. Now that hurricane may dissipate. It may roar across the ocean and turn north and swamp Boston. Or it might roar straight ashore in Wilmington. And if you’re a Republican candidate standing on the beach, the same person asked, what do you do. I said, Prepare for the worst.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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